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Showing posts from April, 2011

Media Morsels 4.29.11

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Farewell, American Idiot
My beloved American Idiot has ended its Broadway run. While I wasn't able to attend the rocking performance (I was seeing American Idiot alumnus Michael Esper in iHo), reports tell of a glorious final Broadway bow, capped by an hour-long Green Day concert. Take a look at these Broadway.com photos of the final curtain call and then watch the video below, which includes producers Ira Pittleman and Tom Hulce and director Michael Mayer giving their curtain speeches. (Never fear, rage+lovers: American Idiot will go on tour and launch international productions!)

Theatre Award Season Update
With Tony nominations right around the corner (Tuesday, May 3), theatre award season is in full swing. This week, the Outer Critics Circle, the Drama League and the Astaire Awards nominations were announced. Visit my tumblr for the full list of nominees (taken from Playbill.com), along with my commentary, for the OCC Awards and the Drama League Awards. Visit Playbill.com for As…

The People in the Picture

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Have you ever wondered what Jewish guilt would look and sound like on a stage? Well, look no further than The People in the Picture, the new musical that just opened at Roundabout Theatre’s Studio 54. Written by Iris Rainer Dart (book and lyrics) and Mike Stoller & Artie Butler (music), the show concerns a Yiddish theatre troupe in the Warsaw Ghetto, circa 1935-1946, as recounted to one of its player’s granddaughter in New York in 1977. There’s a lot to mine there and the subject matter could be interesting, but unfortunately this production doesn’t live up to what could be. As directed by Leonard Foglia, The People in the Picture is too slow, a little too long and un-engaging. I attended the musical with three friends and all of us had a similar reaction. We were unmoved by what could be moving subject matter, and I found myself becoming more and more restless as the show progressed. It’s not for a lack of talent. Donna Murphy stars as Bubbie/Raisel, Raisel being the theatre trou…

Lombardi

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“God, family and the Green Bay Packers,” but not in that order. That, says Marie Lombardi, sums up her husband, legendary football coach (and the namesake of the Super Bowl trophy) Vince Lombardi. A week in the life of this winning coach is the subject of the Broadway play Lombardi, which holds the distinction of being the only show to have opened in fall 2010 and still be running today. Coach Lombardi’s story, written by Eric Simonson and directed by Thomas Kail, is told through the lens of a reporter, Michael McCormick (Keith Nobbs), who has been granted the privilege of spending a week with the Lombardis (Dan Lauria and Judith Light as Vince and Marie), at home and on the field. On the field he meets Packers players Dave Robinson (Robert Christopher Riley), Paul Hornung (Bill Dawes) and Jim Taylor (Chris Sullivan). I love football, but going in to this I didn’t know much about Coach Lombardi so I found this ninety-minute look into his life and his coaching (really, one in the same)…

The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures

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It seems sort of appropriate that I saw Tony Kushner’s The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures during Passover, as the whole play is about finding freedom. Freedom from some prisoner, whether that prisoner is time, work, family or all of the above, the catalyst of the action is a father’s quest for freedom.

In the Marcantonio brownstone on Clinton Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, Gus (Michael Cristofer) has gathered his family, sister Clio (Brenda Wehle) and children Pill (Stephen Spinella) Empty (Linda Emond) and V (Steven Pasquale), to tell them he is going to kill himself; he’s an old man, a Local 1814 International Longshore and Warehouse Union retiree, and he thinks he has Alzheimer’s. (His children aren’t convinced.) He has told his sister he will abide by whatever consensus she and the children come to. Complicating matters and adding to the emotional turmoil are Pill’s partner, Paul (K. Todd Freeman) and lover, Eli (Michael …

Picked

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They say you should be careful what you wish for, but unfortunately Kevin, our protagonist in Christopher Shinn’s Picked, doesn’t heed that warning. The struggling actor, played by Michael Stahl-David, is looking for his “big break.” He gets it from filmmaker John (Mark Blum), who picks Kevin to star in his latest science-fiction movie. Kevin devotes years of his life to making the film only to find that he is unemployable after its release. All the while, he struggles in his relationship with his girlfriend, Jen (Liz Stauber); is intimidated by, then befriended by and finally rebuffed by a fellow actor, Nick (Tom Lipinski); and finds it difficult to connect with casting directors, like the one played by former New York City First Lady Donna Hanover.

While the perils of getting what you wished for and the pros and cons of being plucked from the unknown and catapulted into a blockbuster movie are interesting and, as directed by Michael Wilson and performed by this Vineyard Theatre pro…

Seance on a Wet Afternoon

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On Friday night, I went to the opera for the very first time, dear readers. While I didn’t care for this opera, Stephen Schwartz’s Seance on a Wet Afternoon, it did, oddly enough, make me more curious to go back to the opera, albeit for something more traditional (read: a love story) and something in Italian.
(Spoiler alert: The rest of the post contains what may be spoilers for people unfamiliar with Next to Normal.)
You see, Seance was written and is performed in English (with English supertitles) and the plot is that of a B-rate horror movie. A medium, who has visions of her dead son, and her husband plot to kidnap a young girl; the medium will then go to the girl’s family and offer her clairvoyant services to help find the girl and, in doing so, will gain fame (and, more important, fortune) from rubberneckers. That’s the plan, but, as we know, things don’t always turn out as planned.
The material wasn’t very good. Based on a novel by Mark McShane and a screenplay by Brian Forbes,

Media Morsels 4.22.11

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Farewell, American Idiot
Dear readers, American Idiot closes on Broadway this Sunday, April 24. When it closes, it will have played 27 previews and 421 regular performances. (Plus an extended months-long world premiere in Berkeley.) As they prepare to close, the Idiots celebrated their one year anniversary (they opened April 20, 2010), and current Extraordinary Girl Libby Winters took us backstage on a two show day. Much love to the Idiots as they close the Broadway chapter of the grand American Idiot book. You can visit facebook.com/americanidiotbroadway to stay up to date on the upcoming tour. "And that was that. Or so it seemed..."

This Year in Jerusalem
Former Idiot John Gallagher, Jr., is currently appearing in the just-opened Jerusalem, which I saw and loved last weekend. (The New York Times's Ben Brantley also like it.) Take a look at these production stills from Playbill.com, a video look (below) at the mythology of Jerusalem, as narrated by playwright Jez Butterwor…

Jerusalem

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I will not cease from Mental Fight Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand: Till we have built Jerusalem, In England’s green and pleasant land.
You know, if not for all the drugs and mayhem descending upon Johnny “Rooster” Byron’s Flintock home, the English forest and its rabble inhabitants would be idyllic - would be Jerusalem. But oh, those drugs and mayhem.
It’s St. George’s Day in Flintock, Wiltshire, England, and while en route to and in between the merry celebration of England’s patron saint, Ginger (Mackenzie Crook), Lee (John Gallagher, Jr.), The Professor (Alan David) and several other vagabonds check in with Rooster (the incomparable Mark Rylance) for a fix. Of just what is open to interpretation. Ostensibly they’re there for drugs, but it seems these drifters are all looking for something else. Throughout most of this funny, blistering and thought provoking new play by Jez Butterworth, wonderfully directed by Ian Rickson, I found myself eagerly looking for the redemption. Most of t…

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

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It’s 1933 in Hollywood and Vera Stark (Sanaa Lathan) is helping the actress for whom she works, Gloria Mitchell (Stephanie J. Block), run lines for an upcoming audition. Vera has aspirations of becoming a working actress (and not an actress who works, as a maid, let’s say), as do her friends and roommates, Lottie (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) and Anne Mae (Karen Olivo). The problem is, as difficult as it is for anyone to break in to the business, it’s even harder for Vera because she’s black. Throughout the first act of Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Vera and the others must figure out just how far they will go – and how much they will betray their beliefs – in pursuit of becoming a star. And exactly what they did to attain stardom and what happened afterward is the subject of act two, set in 2003 with flashbacks to 1973. (Trust me, it’s not confusing.) With the exception of Lathan and Block, all the actors portray different characters in act two, commenting on Vera and Glori…

Media Morsels 4.15.11

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Spring Openings
Dear readers, it's that time of year: Lots and lots of shows are opening this month as we near the finish line (or, more specifically, the Tony eligibility deadline) for the 2010-2011 season. This past week, the wonderfully fun Catch Me if You Can (April 10) and the de-lovely revival of Anything Goes (April 7, which just extended its run through January 8, 2012) opened. Check out these photos, all from Broadwayworld.com, and the Catch Me opening night video from Playbill.com:Anything Goes arrivalsAnything Goes curtain callAnything Goes after party, with Sutton Foster looking stunning
Catch Me arrivals (including Aaron Sorkin!!! Ah, my two Aarons...) Catch Me curtain callCatch Me after partyBonus: Catch Me photos from Broadway.comBonus: Aaron Tveit talks to People about his roleBonus: photo coverage of Catch Me's Gypsy Robe ceremony

The Muppets
The Muppets are coming! The Muppets are coming! As you probably know, dear readers, our beloved Muppets - Kermit, Dr. Teeth…